Fourteen years ago, my husband still grieved the loss of the teacup poodle he had before we married. I gave him a red miniature poodle for his birthday, which he named Jazz. So technically, Jazz is my husband’s dog, but we all love him. So much has happened during the past fourteen years, but Jazz has stayed by my side. He and Pixar took care of me the years I was sick with the autoimmune disease; they were my constant companions. He comforted me when Pixar died. Then later, when Ember and Nutty died. Since my husband travels frequently for business, I sleep more often with Jazz than I do with my husband. Jazz is up to the task, though; he’s quite a snuggle-buddy.
Jazz has been struggling with a few health issues, including cataracts or glaucoma. He’s physically healthy, though, and we were most excited to celebrate his fourteenth birthday this weekend! I’d hoped to take him for a walk, but it was too chilly for him. He still loves his walks in the summer. He may be unable to see much and he’s almost completely deaf, but he becomes all nose when we take him outside. He sniffs everything he can reach and misses nothing.
His arthritis has been a problem this year, especially when the weather is cold and snowy. He receives regular acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, which have helped his mobility. In December, at the suggestion of his chiropractor/acupuncturist, we bought Jazz a pressure-activated heating pad to ease the joint pain on those difficult days. Our cat Russell Sprout has loved it, and Jazz uses it occasionally. At least it is getting frequent use!
With Nutty’s death a few weeks ago, the house has been too quiet. Jazz and our schnauzer-mixes, Garnet and Tribble, have been too sedate; the atmosphere lacked its usual spark and excitement. I know the dogs miss him too. He liked to chase the cats, though, and they don’t seem to miss him at all.
We obviously needed a little fun, so I threw Jazz a birthday party! My middle daughter’s dog, Allie, was a hungry guest!
The dogs weren’t very cooperative about posing for pictures and they didn’t want to sit in the dining room chairs. They gave us a look to say that they know they belong on the floor, not the chairs. So, in the end, we fed them on the floor.
I made treats for both the dog-wranglers and the pooches – bacon and little sausages! The gluten-free cheddar cookies were a hit (I even liked them). I also made gluten-free peanut butter/pumpkin cookies and peanut butter-frosted pupcakes using some recipes found at scrumptiouspumpkin.com.
My mother advised me to prepare my heart for Jazz’s death. No way! A defended heart holds less love. I’ve got the courage to love him without holding back to the end of his life, and beyond. It’s this type of love that makes our lives worthwhile. There will be time enough to grieve when he’s gone.
I’m living in the present, and it’s time to be enjoy our lives and celebrate! Happy birthday Jazz!! Thanks for being my best friend for the past 14 years.